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Dismissing the Course of History

The Ban on AP African American Studies Limits Education

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

The College Board is usually known for their accelerated college-credit courses that offer high school students the ability to take more rigorous courses than the standard curriculum. However, in Florida, the College Board is in the center of fire from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) for their ban of the new AP African American Studies course. The reasons they provided for banning the course is because of the state’s concerns of the curriculum that they think contains “woke ideology,” because it violates the Individual Freedom bill, also known as the “Stop W.O.K.E.” act, and the Parental Rights in Education bill, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” act.

The College Board offers a plethora of courses that pertain to history and culture such as AP Japanese Language and Culture. Moreover, most of these courses have six identical units that touch on topics such as social and political challenges amongst cultures and how language and culture affect identity. Therefore, part of the reason for the ban being that the curriculum would indoctrinate children is hypocritical when courses that are offered in Florida cover similar topics that are too “woke” for FLDOE’s standards.

Having taken seven AP courses so far in my high school career, I’ve had the opportunity to pick classes that I felt would further advance my knowledge as well as interest me. As a black student, seeing courses such as AP European History or AP Chinese Language and Culture are interesting but not enticing. Learning about history from people who also went through life with a similar lens and experience is far more engaging than learning about other history as an outsider despite how interesting it may be. 

Some may argue that the ban of AP African American Studies is okay because most students won’t take it since it’s “curated" towards black students who, according to the Florida College Access Network, make up 9% of total Florida AP exam takers. However, research shows that students who take AP courses are more likely to take related coursework in college and major or minor in that subject so when students go on to college they’ll be more likely to further their education in African American studies. Despite how many students of any background might sign up for the course at first, giving students the option to take the course is a positive step to showcasing a key part of American history and the modern effects of what happened from it.

The ban of AP African American Studies by the FLDOE is both hypocritical and self-induced sabotage. Having courses where students of other races and cultures can learn more about their identity at school but not including a course like that for African American students is wrong. Additionally, the state would see a higher number of African American students take other AP courses if they can see themselves within a course. Without the ban in place the only scenario is a win-win situation, not indoctrination.


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Andy Poll

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